Driver who struck roadside worker distracted by blonde, say court documents

Roger Caley

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The man suspected of striking a subcontractor along Interstate 469 then driving off earlier this week was apparently distracted by a blonde roadside worker when the incident happened, according to court documents released Thursday.

Roger A. Caley, 64, of New Haven was arrested on two counts of leaving the scene of a crash related to the hit-and-run crash on the interstate that critically injured Christopher M. Brandell as he moved construction barrels. Caley is expected to be formally charged Friday.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Caley told police he had been driving from Huntington to New Haven when he thought he struck a construction barrel on the interstate. Caley said he pulled over to inspect the damage to his pickup then drove off.

“That’s all I saw. I stopped and didn’t see anything so I kept going,” Caley told investigators according to the affidavit.

In fact, Caley went on the say he saw a blonde worker on the south side of eastbound 469 who “caught his eye because she was pretty,” the affidavit said. Caley insisted he struck a barrel, and he saw the female worker pick up the barrel that he hit, according to the affidavit.

That female worker, though, told police she was working on the north side of the eastbound lanes when she heard a loud noise and turned to see her coworker – Brandell – airborne and flying over the concrete median wall into the westbound lanes of the interstate. The female worker said she ran to Brandell’s aid and never saw the vehicle that struck him, the affidavit said.

A dump truck driver told police he was travelling westbound on the interstate when the crash happened. He said he saw the red pickup park and its driver get out and inspect the front-end damage. The dump truck driver then looked to see Brandell down in the westbound lanes and by the time he turned back to the pickup, it had already driven off, the affidavit read.

Police pulled Caley’s red pickup over in New Haven shortly later. It had damage to its front headlight, the affidavit said.

Eventually, Caley admitted to police he struck a human being – Brandell.

“The defendant admitted to seeing ‘something’ fly over the concrete median wall. The defendant then admitted that he thought that he hit a male worker on I-469 and he knew that it was not just a barrel being hit by his red Ford truck,” the affidavit said.

Brandell was taken to Parkview Regional Medical Center in critical condition after the crash. The affidavit said he was rushed into emergency surgery, where doctors had to reconnect his aortic valve. Brandell also suffered a lacerated spleen, a lacerated kidney, broken ribs and minor head injuries, and could be paralyzed, the affidavit said.

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